DTM Libya identified a total of 621,007 migrants from over 43 nationalities in the 100 Libyan municipalities during Round 39 of data collection (October–November 2021).
In line with a trend which started at the beginning of 2021, the number of migrants in Libya has continued to increase during the months of October and November while remaining slightly lower than in 2019 for the corresponding reporting period (654,081 migrants during Round 28). In 2020, the migrant population in Libya decreased following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn as well as tightened security controls and mobility restrictions.
Employment and labour market
The majority of migrants (61%) interviewed in October and November 2021 reported that financial issues were among the three main difficulties they faced in Libya. Other challenges migrants cited included lack of identity documents (39%) and lack of information (e.g. on migration or available services) (30%). While the general security situation continued to be relatively calm during the reporting period, the overall political context remained volatile. A total of 14 per cent of migrants interviewed reported security related issues, such as attacks and assaults as the main challenge they faced.
Furthermore, the unemployment rate among migrants (23%) stayed higher than pre-pandemic levels (17% in February 2020). Based on the 2022 HNO, less than half of migrants (46%) hold a predictable source of income (from a permanent job) while 69 per cent of migrants noted difficulties securing work. This unpredictability is further compounded by the fact that many migrants are engaged in informal and temporary employment, often without access to social protection schemes.
In November, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on labour mobility was signed between Libya’s Minister of Labour and Rehabilitation and Niger’s Minister of Employment and Social Protection. The agreement seeks to protect migrant workers through effective work visa issuance before employment, and to better respond to Libya’s labour market needs. Two thirds of Nigerien migrants interviewed in October and November 2021 reported being employed in elementary occupations or the craft and trade sector.
Moreover, nearly a quarter of migrants (24%) interviewed by DTM Libya in October and November 2021 stated being employed without a written contract or oral agreement while nearly three quarters (73%) reported only holding an oral agreement. A minority of three per cent reported having a written and signed employment contract (Fig 1). Around the world, migrant workers are generally more likely to have informal or non-standard contracts, and to be employed for shorter periods of time and in low-skilled occupations than comparable natives.
The bulk of migrants (44%) surveyed by DTM Libya stated working in elementary occupations (e.g. employed as unskilled construction workers). The crafts and related trades sector (e.g. blacksmith or carpenters) employed the second highest number of migrants (14%).
Consistent with previous reports, the majority of migrants (90%) interviewed by DTM in October and November reported that economic reasons had been their primary motive to leave their country of origin (Fig 3). For the majority of migrants (52%) insufficient income in their country of origin was the top reason for leaving their home country while for nearly a quarter (23%) it was the search for job opportunities abroad.